Restoring Hope, Reducing Meds, Recovering Joy. New Hope in Therapy.

Many people that have received a diagnosis from a psychiatrist lose hope of recovery. All of the stages of loss and grief can show up as the patient tries to accept a mental health diagnosis and whatever prognosis the doctor has offered. In addition, they deal with a changing cocktail of drug therapy to try and manage symptoms often with potent side effects while they try and find the selection that works the best for them.
When I do see them for psychotherapy – if their doctor has recommended it at all – they are often over medicated and have lost hope that their lives will ever be what they would have wanted. 
This is one area of my profession that frustrates me and riles me up the most. Too many meds on board, not enough symptoms resolution from any – and the massive loss of hope for their futures. Because it doesn’t have to be that way. 
Take a recent case study I wrote that is being published and presented this year on one of my clients. She had a lifetime of complex trauma, multiple (concurrent) mental health diagnoses and labels, impaired functionally in multiple ways compounded by recent rehab experiences for addiction. She came to me with bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, substance abuse and was on FIVE different medications. She could barely open her eyes she was so heavily medicated and had trouble even being functionally responsive.
We worked together weekly using SRT (Self Regulation Therapy) and after three months she was down to only two medications at half the previous dosage. Her psychiatrist documented her progress and approved her as stable and ready to return to work (something she was told she might not ever be able to do and had lost hope for).
After 6 months she had been hired at a job in her field (as a nurse) and was down to one medication at a low dose with very few symptoms remaining and remarkable mood stability. I followed up with her at regular intervals for two years and saw increased stability along with her ability to experience joy in her life again. She got married, got promotions, and was planning on having a baby the last time I saw her.
All things that her psychiatrist deemed impossible and that at one point she believed.
You could be THREE months away or less from feeling more than 50% fewer symptoms than you experience now – feeling 50% better or more.
What would that be worth to you?
Therapy doesn’t have to be lifelong and just helping you barely survive through your symptoms – you can actually get better with the right fit.
Here’s some things to remember:
1. Your diagnosis is based on a presentation of symptoms in this moment. It does not define who you are. It does not represent your potential for healing. It is a name to make sense of a picture of symptoms. When we can depersonalize the diagnosis and understand it from this way it helps remove barriers that we create in our minds or that we believe as a prognosis from a doctor.
2. Psychotherapy should always be recommended first based not on the symptoms but on the root. I see people diagnoses with ADHD and mediated but the symptoms only began after a traumatic experience. In these cases it should be protocol to advise for psychotherapy that would work with the root issue first before medications are even considered. This is true for many patients with trauma histories. When we work with the trauma in a neurobiological way – as we do with SRT – often the symptoms resolve without medication and permanently.
3. You need to be informed and be your own advocate – or have an ally that can be that for you. Your friendly neighbourhood therapist with whom you have developed a good therapeutic relationship is an excellent choice for someone that can advocate for you with family members and other loved ones and with your other health care providers. If you aren’t seeing a 75-80% reduction in symptoms from your medication, we need to discuss, as a team, making changes. We also need to discuss one medication at a time and start resisting the urge for polypharmacy when it comes to mental illness.
4. Please remember that your psychiatrist is trained to diagnose mental illness and prescribe drug therapy. They are not trained psychotherapists, they are not always up to date on all of the current neuroscience research (unless they are also a neuroscientist), they don’t know all of the different approaches to therapy as they emerge or alternative approaches to healthcare. It’s like seeing a surgeon for a medical issue – a surgeon will give you a surgical solution – that’s where their training is. Know that your psychiatrist is an important part of your health care team but that their training is also narrowly focused to their speciality. It’s wise to have a team of providers so that you can have a wider field of vision.
5. Realize that the brain can change throughout the entire course of your life. There are therapeutic approaches that enhance and direct the brain’s ability to change. Finding the right therapeutic modality and lifestyle practices to support this will be the key to your symptom management and long term recovery potential.
6. The more you believe in your brain and body’s potential for the healing the more the nervous system will respond to organize in ways to support that. There is not just one path to healing and regardless of a diagnosis, your mind needs to be trained to believe in limitless possibilities – continually focusing on optimal healing and best case scenario for recovery.
I have more case studies that I am writing up. People hopeless and suffering that have had symptom resolution to the point that they no longer meet diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis any longer. Teens with anxiety on dangerous medications with resolution of all symptoms in 6 sessions. Children diagnosed with ADHD – which is just activation in the nervous system – able to focus and learn in their classrooms with no medication needed. Years of flashbacks and nightmares and hyper vigilance after car accidents, relational trauma and abuse, that disappear over the course of therapy.
All stories of people restoring hope, reducing (and eliminating) medications, able to experience joy in their lives and moving into fulfillment and purpose against what they were told and what they grew to accept.
These are not unusual for this therapeutic modality – you could experience radical healing in your mental and physical health and well being. This is worth your investment – if not now, then when?
Don’t accept less for your life. 
Would love to hear from you – email me with your questions anytime, I’d be happy to discuss the potential you have for healing also.
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